Gogaran is a small village located five miles outside of Spitak, the epicenter of the December 7, 1988 earthquake. The village of 200 families suffered damage caused by the earthquake, which was very visible and had affected the residents’ lives and their community. The three-story schoolhouse collapsed and almost all the school-age children died during this catastrophe. It was a generation lost.
LCO thought the area was in crucial physical and emotional need and adopted Gogaran as a campaign site from 1989 to 1996. During this seven-year period, LCO assisted the local villagers to rebuild their homes that were partially destroyed by the earthquake. In 1991, the villagers requested that we select the reconstruction of Gogaran’s 16th century ancient church built on a 4th century foundation as a project and gift to all residents of Gogaran.
In 1996, Sourp Astdvadzadzin, was completed and its consecration was blessed by His Holiness KAREKIN I and 2,000 people from throughout Armenia attended. This was the first major diasporan and volunteer supported project in Armenia. Now Sourp Astvadzadzin is a permanent religious and community institution for the people and future generations of Gogaran.
Since the LCO has been working in this region since the earthquake, former volunteers have developed long-standing friendships and bonds with the villagers as they work alongside these people of the land. LCO continues to support this project and community.